Of Grad School and Career Plans, Eagles and Home Life, Battlegrounds and Death Blows

I haven’t been needed at work in roughly 263 hours and I’m feeling a little crazy. The only word I’ve had from anyone is a text proclaiming that one of my co-workers finally got their first Pringles can that didn’t say P&G on it, sent at 0111 on January 27.

That may not be the most positive beginning to a post, but in honest retrospect, I’ve had a good amount of time to focus on things other than homework, like Paco’s Eagle Court of Honor, kali, cleaning my room, and writing letters (!!!) to KJ and Victoria and Michelle.

Per normal Ais methods, the title gives no indication of what order I’m actually going to blog about anything… so, naturally, we start with the death blows.

My karate bag has sat quietly in my closet, untouched, but far from forgotten, for almost five and a half years now. I took it out and went through it last week. My sparring gear is complete. I was better protected than most of my female classmates back in the day… I actually had a chest protector. All of it still fits, of course; it’s not like I’ve grown… the helmet, the gloves, groin pad, mouthguard… What I found so ironic was that none of it would be adequate for what I’m training in now.

The Americanized side of me is the side that is uneasy in the dojang now. It’s saddened me to find that the past five years have cooled my fighting blood slightly. I’ve never been fond of close contact, but I’m being forced to face it, as we train corto. I understand, of course, the necessity and practicality of it, especially now that I’m in college, but I’m aware of my own deeper fear and a considerable decrease in confidence. I’m hoping I can get past it making me sad, into letting it make me angry, angry enough to keep it from slowing me down and holding me back.

We’ve worked both solo and doble baston. Sinawali came much more easily to Migi and Yena than it did to me =) indicative of their training with Ninong. We’ve learned several different formations for sinawali that include all three of us at once, and/or a dummy, included square formation, Y formation, and kadena. We’ve learned 12 basic strikes and 12 power strikes alright. We’ve got shadow fighting 1 down, half of shadow fighting 2 memorized, and we’ve been taken through all four. Guro Michael works on different things with us, I think based on relevance. So, with me, for example, he’s worked on breaking holds. The kids have stayed with sticks more than I have; I’ve been made to start going back through old drills… jab, jab, hook, uppercut, round-house, knee, that sort of thing, and recently with a stick in one hand at all times. I’ve been set to rounds with Bob, both empty-handed, and with a single stick. I’ve felt so delightfully at home when Guro Michael speaks tagalog to us. When we practice sinawali, it sounds as if we’re beating the sticks for tinikling. He’s used tinikling to help me learn the footwork for sinawali, too.

Nino’s asked to be taught kali. I love it. In time, he’ll be there, too.

Dad and the boys have asked me to be the Catholic religious emblem counselor for their troop, so Dad and I went through the archdiocese training for that last Wednesday. I’m really excited to be doing this with our boys. I’ve felt disconnected from them sometimes, since moving back to Cinci, and while I’ve loved watching them grow in and through scouting, I’ve felt as if that world hasn’t had any place for me in it, and I’ve been stuck on the sidelines. I felt it less when I started college and realized that I was breaking into my own world that I could no longer share with my entire family on a daily basis, but I’ve missed the closeness that TSKS once facilitated. It’s nice, now, to have this, and to have kali, both avenues for spending more quality time with the kids.

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I missed adoration with the Young Adults due to kali on Thursday, but I was able to catch them at Applebees. I somehow ended up sitting between Chris and Marv, so naturally, I was highly entertained throughout the entire meal. I didn’t get to catch up as much with Katie or Caitlyn or Alan, unfortunately, but the square dance will come soon enough =)

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Paco’s Eagle Court of Honor was, in my opinion, a great success. Paco has become an absolutely amazing public speaker over the course of just the past year, and I was part of a captivated and highly entertained audience. I remember when that kid used and I used to fight over who got to put the cap back on to the toothpaste. We’ve come a very, very long way since.

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I think the food all went out without any terribly upsetting hitches… several people were so very sweet to pitch in, and our biggest help during the ceremony were Amanda and Patrick.

Mom and I ended up serving…

  • apple / mango / blueberry / pomegranate fruit salad
  • spring rolls – bibb lettuce, sotanghon, green onions, carrots, red onions, basil, mint, cilantro, shrimp
  • adobo & kanin bites (win =D)
  • chicken satays
  • bacon-wrapped shrimp
  • cookies
  • brownies
  • spanakopita
  • mini quiches
  • bagels w/ cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion brunoise, capers
  • gluten-free crackers w/ hummus, feta, muffalata
  • sliders – gouda, peppers & onions
  • polenta w/ mushroom duxelles
  • deviled eggs
  • biscuits w/ ham and dijon mustard
  • baked mac&cheese

… and I’m probably forgetting stuff. The boys were not too happy that I had completely forgotten to ensure that we had Ale8one… but they were very, very happy with Paco’s cake, which Steffy was so sweet to make for us!!

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She even molded the We-Hin-Ay-Pay out of fondant. Terry got that piece.

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Paco was slightly upset =) I guess he had a right to be, because then Nino stole Paco’s slice that had “Be Prepared” on it.

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Oops…

How is that I’m old enough to have a brother who is learning how to drive??? I let Paco drive home from the SAC last night. He did a truly excellent job – I don’t remember being that comfortable when I was as green as he is currently – but it just scares me, firstly, that he’s old enough to have a permit, and second, that I’m old enough to legally be the only other person in the car with him and allow him to drive. I’ve been groaning quietly to myself every time I think about it. Where have the years flown?

Dad and Yena had gone to pick up Mama and Papa to join us for Paco’s Eagle Court of Honor. On Monday, Mom and Dad and Nino and Yena all went to drop them back off in St. Louis, which left me with Paco and Migi. In recent years, we might have fought a lot. Instead, we did our chores, ate promptly and well, and did our homework together, all in the same room, taking turns playing music. We have determined that if college [for them] would lead them to move out of the house and live together somewhere, I could join them, and we would be very comfortable taking care of each other. And speaking of moving out…

Steubenville’s on my mind again. It’s been almost ten years since I started thinking about it seriously and trying to figure out how to work it into my education, and now, if I am accepted and can make it happen, it’s just over a year and a half away. It seems ironic that I, who never intended to be any sort of career woman, am now having to seriously evaluate what my career options are. I just… never meant to get this far in life alone. But here I am, so I’m doing my best to be real about things… and I’m rediscovering my restlessness. I’m ready and willing to be just working, but it’s also hitting me that several of my most important friends are accepting positions that have kept or taken them far, far away, to Boston, Wisconsin, and California, among other places. I’d still prefer to be at home with the family, but with Paco considering Steubenville as well, moving out, if it could be with one of my siblings, doesn’t seem quite as out-there anymore.

I’ve had much-needed sister-time with both Marybeth and Steffy this week, and we’re hoping to get together again before Lent starts.

It hurts a little that it’s taken me until my senior year to find these people, but I finally joined UC’s Students for Life, and have consequently discovered the existence of UC’s Society of St. Paul. I’ve been made the chair for the 1Flesh committee, and we’ve sent in our names and declared our intentions to start a chapter, soooo… We’re waiting on Marc Barnes and them all to get back to us =) Please pray for us, that we may prepare ourselves adequately for this new battleground with the help of St. Michael. Please pray that this endeavour will be born and rooted and carried out in only the purest and most fervent Love.

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